SHOPPING WHERE TO GET Great Stuff Cheap

From clothes to china, computers to CDs-have we got a deal for you.

Nobody likes to be called cheap. Thrifty, maybe; frugal, certainly. Cheap, never.

Only the very rich and the very poor are comfortable with the idea of being cheap, sitting as they do at opposite ends of the spending spectrum, motivated by disparate forces. The very rich are reticent to flaunt their lucky lot in life; the very poor are resigned to it. The rest of us, meanwhile, reside somewhere in between. We want what the haves have-on a have-not salary.

Alas.

For us, Hillsboro is a weekend destination, Tuesday morning is more than the day after Monday, “leftovers” and “seconds” are not dinner options, and Ross is not Perot.

We live fora bargain. We dream of the deal. And we know that luck and timing and perseverance have everything to do with the art of (finding) the deal.

We also know this: Shopping is an adventure.

In that spirit, we the thrifty, we the frugal, offer our guide to great stuff cheap.

Enjoy.

OUTFITTING THE HOME

You may not recognize the name Everyware (1311 Inwood Rd.; 214-630-7727), but if you’ve shopped Gump’s or Pottery Barn, you’ll recognize its merchandise. This pottery, crystal and glassware manufacturer sells to these stores and 1,200 others. But its seconds and overruns are sold directly to the consumer at Everyware, located in the Inwood Trade Center, the discount mecca along Inwood south of Stem-mons Freeway. OK, so the pieces are flawed. But you’d need a magnifying glass to spot the one-too-many air bubbles in the goblet and a color chip to know that the piece of green pottery is the wrong shade of sage. Here, stacks of barware, dishes and crystal vases are sold at half the retail price. For instance: a recycled cobalt blue Mexican glass pitcher for $15, whimsical latte mugs and saucers at $5.95 per set, tall frosted glasses with polka dots or stripes for $4.99, tortoise-shell goblets and wine glasses for $5.60.

Crate & Barrel Outlet (1317 Inwood Rd., in the Inwood Trade Center; 214-634-2277) carries discontinued and sale merchandise from Crate & Barrel, as well as special purchases for the outlet. We found 2-by-3-foot cotton shaker rugs for S4.95 and Marimekko fabrics for $6.95 a yard; insulated tumblers for 95 cents, painted pottery pasta sets at $14.95 and salad spinners for $4.95. Wine glasses at $ 1.50 per stem and ceramic buffet plates at $1.95 each are priced so low that a number of Dallas hotels, restaurants and caterers come here to make their purchases. One Crate & Barrel item you won’t find here: the signature black-and-white C&B gift boxes. The outlet does, however, sell gift packs for 75 cents each and ships via UPS.

Horohow Finale (3400 Preston Rd., Piano, Suite 210; 972-519-5406, and a new location at Mockingbird Lane and North Central Expressway scheduled to open in late spring) carries a hit-and-miss collection of leftover merchandise from the Horchow and other upscale catalogs-now a bargain at about 50 percent of the original cost. Among the offerings: a 6-by-9-fool wool hand-hooked floral rug for $241 ; a sel of six Spode dessert plates for S63; a cowboy collage tray for $499.



Retro bargains:

Karen Eubank, a Dallas photo stylist for 17 years, combs the city in search of props to create temporary interior design sets for photo shoots. For everything from knick-knacks and sets of estate china to bedroom sets and $500 armoires, Eubank heads to Lots of Furniture Warehouse (910 N. Industrial Blvd.; 214-761 -1575), White Elephant ( 1026 N, Industrial Blvd.; 214-871-7966) or the Lower Greenville Antique Mall (2010 Greenville Ave.; 214-824-4136), where she regularly sees “spotters” from upscale stores buying items to resell at higher prices. Lots of Furniture has lots of stained-glass windows from churches, starting at $100; White Elephant has hundreds of old chandeliers dangling overhead; and the Lower Greenville Antique Mall has what Eubank believes is the largest in-town collection of Fiestaware (the collectible pottery in primary colors from the ’20s, “30s and ’40s) and Heywood Wakefield furniture.

Another Eubank favorite: The Uncommon Mariiet (2701 Fairmount St.; 214-871-2775) has vintage leather books, suitcases and trunks from Great Britain and France at the lowest prices she’s come across. Be sure to check out the three-story warehouse behind the storefront, where there are two “libraries” of leather-bound books and Lin entire floor filled with some 2,000 antique light fixtures straight from the flea markets in France. Prices, from $ 125 to $2,000, include any refurbishing, painting, wiring or detail work that the fixture needs or the customer wants.

For doorknobs, hinges, pulls and fixtures, Eubank recently discovered Restore (3020 Bryan St.; 214-827-9083). a building supply warehouse that’s a division of Habitat for Humanity. ReStore’s inventory is donated, so “the prices are better than the salvage companies I’ve haunted in the past,” she says.

Other places worth a visit are Peacock Alley (13720 Midway Rd., Suite 203, just north of Alpha; 972^90-3998), which carries discontinued items, samples and seconds of luxurious imported bedding in simple classic designs, for 50 percent to 75 percent off. “Seconds” is a relative term here: 310-thread count, all-cotton Egyptian sheets in the “wrong” shade of white were 75 percent off.

Home Depot Expo (13900 Dallas Pkwy., 972-934-2900) has a huge Ralph Lauren Home Col-lection of linens, pil-lows and blankets about m 20 percent less than the retail price at a local department store.

Now that domestic god-dess Martha Stewart is targeting the price-conscious with her new K mart (multiple locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) line of towels, bedding and blankets, it’s possible to have your home look like a page out of Living, Among the offerings: 200-thread count, all-cotton sheets from $5.99, cotton bath towels at $4.99 and cotton thermal blankets for $9.99.

Tuesday Morning Outlet (see sidebar for location) sells imported linens, including Frette, at 50 percent to 80 percent below retail.

For custom-made draperies, bedding and tablecloths, The Interior Alternative (1305 Inwood Rd.; 214-637-8800), next door to the Crate & Barrel and Everyware outlets in the Inwood Trade Center, sells fabrics by Waverly, Schumacher and Greeff for $4.50 to $10.50 a yard. The in-house seamstress charges reasonable prices for labor: A three-piece bedding set with dust ruffle, comforter and sham in full, queen and king sizes goes for $ 185; duvets from $45; crib-size comforter, bumpers and ruffles at S100 for the set. The Interior Alternative also carries fabric seconds and close-outs at 50 percent to 70 percent off the retail price, and rugs: a 5-by-8-foot chain stitch for $299, a 6-by-8-foot flowered needlepoint for $942.

CuttingCorners ( 13720 Midway Rd., Suite 200, just north of LBJ Freeway; 972-233-1741) is the place to go for custom-made couches, loveseats, chairs and ottomans in squishy, overstuffed styles. Pick the style and fabric from a large selection and the piece will be ready in two to three weeks. Price includes fabric, labor and furniture: couches, $599 to $799; wing-back chairs, $229 to $249; lodge chairs with pillow backs, $399 to $449; and ottomans, $199 to $249.



ATTENTION, SPORTS FANS

Where to go to outfit your Little Leaguer for less? We asked the pros.

“My first call would be to Jim Bridges Sporting Goods” ( 1530 S. Hwy. 121,Lewis-ville; 972-221-1988), says Mike McCord, equipment manager for the Dallas Cowboys. “Other than that, Oshman’s and those places are fine.” Talk to stores about team discounts, he advises, because buying in bulk is usually cheaper.

In basketball, the shoes are ultimately the most important piece of equipment. Chad Lewis, equipment manager for the Dallas Mavericks, recommends Oshman’s Superstores and World Footlocker. Lewis also suggests Jim Bridges Sporting Goods. For a bargain in other sports gear, try Play It Again Sports (locations below) to find used pads, helmets and other pieces of equipment that kids are prone to outgrow.

Zack Minasian, equipment manager for the Texas Rangers, advises keeping an eye out for sales, looking for good prices in the newspaper and contacting sporting goods stores about bulk purchases.

Dave Smith, equipment manager for the Dallas Stars, says, “Oshman’s and other national chain stores have decent smatterings,” but notes that ice rinks often have specialty goods at their pro shops. He says The Hockey News runs ads for national mail-order houses like Don Simmons and Ocean.

Play It Again Sports(366 Hillside Village, corner of Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road.; 800-752-9481, and Piano, Mesquite, Arlington, Irving and Bedford) and Consignment Sports (5419 W. Lovers Ln.; 214-350-4448, and Richardson, Irving and Farmer’s Branch) sell new and used sports equipment on consignment for about half the retail cost. Trade in barely used roller blades for credit toward a slightly used Keys Abex abs machine. At Play It Again Sports, choose from an entire wall of used roller blades for an average $50 per pair, Consignment Sports specializes in home-gym equipment-Vitamaster treadmills start at $300; Nordic Tracks at $220-and features 25 models of baby joggers, starting at $140.

Take note: Wholesale distributor All Sport Outlet (1539 Roundtable off I-35E; 214-631-6677) now sells to the public. Among the offerings: equipment and clothing for team sports such as soccer, baseball, football and basketball at up to 50 percent off. Best bet: kids1 cleats from $12.99.

Some of the best-dressed ski buffs in Dallas drop off barely worn skiwear for resale at Ski & T (6124 Sherry Ln.; 214-750-1666). Owner Jerry Brophy says the majority of his inventory “’has never even made it on the mountain. Many pieces still have the tags on them.” Among the recent finds: men’s Bogner one-piece suits for $500; women’s Obermeyer one-piece suits for $100; children’s ski outfits from $14.99. Ski & T is open from October to March, and prices go down as the season wears on.

Sun and Ski Sports Outlet (7410 Grapevine Hwy., Fort Worth; 817-284-0052) carries water skis, snow skis, boots and bindings at or below cost. Best bets: An HO water ski that retails for $585 sells here for $229; the new contour Rossignol Cut 10.4 that retails for $420 is $269; Salomon Axendo 8 boots that retail for $515 are $300. Also: ski apparel by Bogner, Obermeyer and Kalin.

For the best deals (as much as 30 percent off retail) on brand-name golf equipment like Ping and Callaway, try one of these golf discounters: Edwin Watts Golf Shop (three locations in Dallas, 214-352-9431, and Arlington); Las Vegas Discount Golf and Tennis (5926 W. Northwest Hwy.; 214-691-2686); or Wally’s Discount Golf (9090 N, Stemmons Fwy.; 214-637-2944, and Arlington, Mesquite. Piano, Richardson and Addison). Edwin Watts says it will match any competitor’s price; Wally’s claims it will beat their best deals. Best bets: A set of Ping IS1 irons with cushion shafts that normally retails for $760 was $619 at Wally’s and $649 at Edwin Watts. The Callaway Great Big Bertha driver with graphite shaft retails for $500 but sold for $369 at Las Vegas and at Wally ’s and for $399 at Edwin Watts.

The Wally’s Discount Golf on North Stemmons Frwy. (north of Regal Row) has an in-store outlet that carries discontinued merchandise in apparel and hardware. Golf shoes with an appearance blemish are a great value: men’s Footjoy Classic for $69 (retail S190): Daiwa Hitrac-TCS 8-iron set with graphite shaft is $349 (retail about $800).

If you’re willing to settle for a knock-off of the big-name brands, try Golf Company (46 Broadway Square, Mesquite; 972-270-0989, and Irving, Richardson and Addison). Dallas Golf sells graphite irons similar to the Ping for less than $500 and a driver with a titanium head similar to the Great Big Bertha for less than $200.

FILA and Nike outlets in Hillsboro carry men’s, women’s and children’s athletic shoes and apparel that have been on the market for at least six months-at 30 percent to 40 percent off the retail price. Shoes may have cosmetic flaws but nothing wrong structurally. Best bets: men’s and women’s tennis shoes (S23 to $40) at the FILA Outlet (817-582-0832). Men’s top-of-the-line Air Max retail for S140 but sell for $ 104.95 at the Nike Factory Outlet (104 1-35 N.E., Suite 101; 817-582-7455).

Camping aficionados can find deals on tents, sleeping bags, propane stoves and lanterns, cots, knives, compasses, even rapelling rope at North Texas Army Navy (985 W. Centerville Rd., Garland; 214-681-1900). A l2-by-9-foot cabin tent goes for $90 (compared with $249 at full-price stores); a minus-20-degree sleeping bag, $70; and a 120-foot rapelling rope, $60 (compared with $80).

Backwoods Equipment Company (5500 Greenville Ave.; 214-363-0372, and 3212 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817-332-2423) offers 15 percent off retail on all climbing gear year-round. You’ll also find Patagonia shorts and shirts for S32 to $45 and MSR snow shoes for $99. Compasses are $20 to $300.

For the best deals on kayaks and canoes, Charles Edwards, trip coordinator for the Dallas Downriver Club, recommends High Trails Company (3610 Marquis Dr., near LBJ Freeway and Jupiter Road; 972-272-3353) and North Texas Canoe (1616 Whit lock Ln.. Carrollton; 972-245-7475). High Trails usually has about 25 secondhand canoes that average $295 and about 15 secondhand kayaks starting at $250. North Texas Canoe offers secondhand kayaks at $350 to $500 and secondhand canoes at $400 to $450.

For serious UV-protection eyewear by RayBan, Armani, Bolle and Revo at 20 percent to 30 percent off retail, head to Sunglass Outlet of Texas in Hillsboro (109 1-35 N.E., Suite 174; 817-582-3515) or Totes & Sunglass World (150 Throckmorton. Suite 116, in the Fort Worth Outlet Center; 817-335-8638).

For Anne Cole, Gottex, Calvin Klein and Adrienne Vittadini swimsuits (S20 to $30): The Spiegel Outlet (Fort Worth Outlet Center; 817-335-1784), SYMS {4770 W. Mockingbird Ln.; 214-902-9600, and 844 W. Airport Frwy., Hurst; 817-428-5499) and Ross Dress For Less (multiple locations). For beach chairs ($11.95), coordinating beach umbrellas ($24.95) and a canvas chair-in-a-bag ($24.95), it’s the Crate & Barrel Outlet.

THE PERFECT GIFT

Shopping for wedding gifts usually means looking for the bride’s patterns in crystal stemware, bone china and silver flatware- and then choking on the prices. Crystal and china prices at department and specialty stores are often set by the manufacturer, but the price of domestic silver place settings can vary tremendously. A four-piece Francis the 1st dinner place setting costs $239 at a local department store. However, at House of 1776 (off Highway 80, Sunnyvale; 972-226-1776), the same costs $159.50; at The Copper Lamp (5500 Greenville Ave.; 214-521-3711), it’s $149.50 for estate silver, $ 162.50 for new.

The Copper Lamp specializes in estate silver and carries 900 active, discontinued and turn-of-the-century patterns as well as Waterford at reduced prices and estate china in Lenox, Herend and Wedgwood.

House of 1776 does most of its business by phone and offers free shipping all over the country. Its prices on sterling-5 percent below any competitor’s advertised price, an additional 20 percent off during biannual sales-can’t be beat. Best bets: silver patterns by the big three American makers-Wallace, Gorham, and Reed and Barton.

The Lenox Outlet (5800 North I-35W, Suite 501, Denton; 817-891-6011) carries seconds in almost every Lenox china and everyday pattern at a savings of as much as 50 percent. The outlet also offers specialty items like china coffee decanters and gravy boats in stock.

Fans of Harry and David-the gourmet mail-order catalog-love the outlet in Hillsboro (104 N.E. 1-35, Suite 189; 817-582-1241), where a one-pound box of truffles is $7.95 (S 14.95 in the catalog) and cheesecakes are $ 10 each (catalog price,$19.95). All the makings of a gift basket can be found-gourmet pastas, smoked turkeys and hams, big boxes of crackers and cheeses, chocolates and hand towels–for 20 percent to 70 percent less than catalog prices. The outlet ships via Federal Express and takes phone orders.

Another sweet idea: Godiva chocolates in traditional, Godiva-gold gift boxes (usually $11) sell for S5.50 at the Pepperidge Farm outlet in Hillsboro (817-582-2656).

CLOTHING

Best for basics:

For jeans, khaki shorts and polo shirts, you can’t beat the prices and quality of Hills-boro’s J. Crew Factory Store (817-582- i960) and The Gap Factory Outlet (817-582-3850). Most of the J. Crew inventory is last year’s catalog merchandise. We took acurrent catalog, compared prices at the factory store and discovered about a 30 percent discount for similar items: long-sleeve pocket T-shirts ($22 in the catalog) cost $14.99; swim trunks ($38 in the catalog) were S24.99; men’s khaki pants ($44 in the catalog) were $29.99 at the outlet. The Gap outlet sells overruns and items manufactured specifically for the outlet. We found men’s and women’s khaki shorts and pants for $16.99 to $19.99; an updated shortsleeved mock turtleneck in a cotton/span-dex blend for $ 12.99; a short khaki skirt for S12.99; and a men’s polo shirt for $16.99. If you want the pony on your polo but don’t want to pay $50, Ross Dress For Less (multiple locations) carries Polo Ralph Lauren polo shirts for men and women for $29.99. Also: Men’s shorts by Tommy Hilfiger are $25.99.



Best for trendy;

No one wants to pay designer prices for of-the-moment fashion. These aren’t investment pieces, so why pay full price? Short answer: You don’t. One word: knock-off. Here’s where: Contempo Casuals (multiple mall locations), Bebe at the Galleria(2i4-490-7336)and Rampage at NorthPark Center (214-361-8215) specialize in the latest fashions-for a fraction of the cost. A knock-off of a Calvin Klein sheer dress ($1,100) was $139 at Bebe. A look-alike of a Donna Karan one-shoulder Lycra shirt ($375) was $40 at Contempo Casuals. The biggest seller at Rampage this spring has been the Prada-like shoes that go for $72 instead of $510 for the real thing.



For women:

Ann Taylor Loft in Gainesville (4321 1-35 North; 817-668-6650) carries last season’s merchandise as well as clothing manufactured specifically for the Loft. Loft clothes-labeled “Ann Taylor Loft” instead of “Ann Taylor”-have the Ann Taylor look for about half the cost. The real deals, however, can be found on sale merchandise. For instance: a silk print shirt originally priced at $118 was marked down to $15.75; a brown suede skirt reduced from $150 to $50; lots of cocktail dresses for about $30. The Loft also sells shoes, hose and the fragrance line, Destination.

Loelimann’s (11411 E. Northwest Highway; 214-349-7213)isfamous for its random offerings of clipped-label designer wear. Its Back Room- which doubles as a women’s-only dressing room-offers a better selection of pricier clothing, Among our finds: a DKNY Essentials double-breasted wool jacket (S200) and matching pants ($100); a Donna Karan tuxedo jacket ($80); a classic Calvin Klein sleeveless shift ($120); and items in Isaac Mizrahi’s secondary collection. Stop by on Mondays. when the inventory is usually replenished. Join the Insider’s Club-it’s free and gets you on the mailing list to learn of special sales events; best of all, it qualities you for 15 percent off purchases four days before and four days after your birthday.

Talbots Outlet (adjacent to Vista Ridge Mall, I-35W, Lewisville; 972-315-5900) sells clearance merchandise left over from the catalog and area stores. Best bets: silk skirts marked down from $108 to $5, cotton T-shirts ($8) and silk broom skirts ($10). The large volume of merchandise is well organized and marked with signs like “New Arrivals.” “Petites,” and “$19.” Among the $19 offerings: cocktail dresses, rayon dresses, knit shorts and pants.

Everything at Harold’s Outlet Barn in Hillsbo’ro (104 N.E. 1-35; 817-582-0133) has been in a Harold’s retail store. Nothing is damaged, nothing is manufactured specifically for the outlet and most items- last year’s offerings-are about half the retail price. There’s enough here to get the complete “Harold’s look.” If you don’t see your size, ask the salesperson to check the back stock. Examples: cotton and silk short skirts for $39, long skirts for $49, pants at $39 to $59, shorts for $19.90 and $29.90.

For men:

Like the Ann Taylor Loft. Brooks Brothers Outlet in Gainesville (43211-35 North, Suite 590; 817-668-1392) offers the traditional look of Brooks Brothers-with slight differences in fabric and finishing-at outlet prices. The good news; Anything you buy at the outlet can be returned to a Brooks Brothers retail store. All-cotton, broadcloth dress shirts are $29.90 ($48 in the catalog); men’s cotton pajamas are $30 ($55 in the catalog); a pink-and-navy rep tie is S 19.90 {$34.90 in the catalog); a wool/linen sports coat is $199.90 ($398 in the catalog).

Men’s Wearhouse offers a gigantic selection of suits and dress shirts at discount prices. Hugo Boss, Canali, Donna Karan, Hickey Freeman and Yves Saint Laurent suits (usually $800 to $1,000) can be special-ordered for about S650; suits by Chaps Ralph Lauren and Pierre Cardin are $299. Vito Rufolo dress shirts range from S35 (for plain, retail S55) to $39.99 (stripes). There are 10 stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including an outlet store (2998 N. Stemmons Frwy.; 214-631-1617). Call 800-776-SUIT for locations.

Harold’s Outlet Barn in Hillsboro carries Polo Ralph Lauren neckties ($ 19.90), pants ($89) and dress shirts ($39.90). Because of the highway traffic, the sales at Harold’s outlet (an additional 20 percent off) coincide with major holidays like spring break and the Fourth of July, Also: Next month, Harold’s will begin carrying men’s suits and shoes for men and women.

Stein Mart (eight locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) carries Polo Ralph Lauren at 25 percent below retail. All merchandise is current season, and there are no seconds or irregulars. The classic polo shirt is $29.97. khakis are $29.97 and cotton ties are $7 to $8.

JEWELRY

Travel Jewelry (6123 Berkshire Ln.; 214-369-4722) specializes in costume jewelry that looks like you’ve spent big money. For instance: knock-offs of Tiffany & Co. diamond-by-the-yard necklace, Cartier stack rings with solitaire oval-shaped stone. De Beers floating diamond necklace-each about $100.

Diva Designer Accessory Boutique (8317 Westchester Dr.; 214-361-1081) also specializes in knock-offs. A “Cartier” brooch of pearls, black enamel and “gold” coins is $179 (the real thing sells for $70,000).

Dallas Cold & Silver Exchange (2817 Forest Ln.; 972-484-3662) offers the best price on a pre-owned Rolex men’s Presidential watch (from $7.900) and on a women’s pre-owned Presidential watch (from $6,000).

ACCESSORIES

Sam Moon Trading (11429 Harry Hines Blvd.; 972-484-3084) is an 1 accessories mecca with enough belts, bags, hairbows, headbands, and silver and costume jewelry to outfit the entire Junior League of Dallas. The sign on the door reads “Wholesale Only,” but anyone can buy here if they’re willing to accept the house rules: You must spend a minimum of $30 and all sales are final. Among the offerings: tortoise-shell headbands and clips starting at $ 1.50, thick braided leather belts for $15, woven leather handbags for $30, sterling silver earrings starting at $8 and charms for necklaces or chokers for $10.

Harold’s Outlet Barn carries last year’s accessories-belts, handbags, scarves and jewelry-for 50 percent off. Best bet: Ralph Lauren silk scarves from $24.95.

The Handbag Outlet (12222 N. Central Expwy., access road north of Forest Lane; 214-234-5837) carries big names in leather, including, on a good day. Coach and Bally, Year-round inventory includes a good selection of no-name leather handbags and totes at 30 percent below retail. Best bets: leather briefcases for $ 100; four-piece, wheeled luggage sets with pull handles for $ 160: evening bags for $30.

Nine West Outlet (locations in outlets in Gainesville, Hiilsboro, Fort Worth and Terrell) carries some of the purses and handbags sold in the Nine West retail stores at a 30 percent savings.

The Spiegel Outlet (Fort Worth Outlet Center, 210 Throckmorton; 817-335-1787) had DKNY leather bags marked down from $215 to $119; Dooney & Bourke purses marked down from $275 to $189.



SHOES

DSW, Designer Shoe Warehouse, (13548 Preston Rd., just north of LBJ Freeway; 972-233-9931) is a no-frills warehouse filled with shoes for women and men. Mixed in with the no-names are designer offerings by Cole Haan, Joan & David, Kenneth Cole and Anne Klein, marked down 30 percent to 50 percent.

Fossee’s Famous Label Designer Shoes (600 Preston Forest Shopping Center, 214-368-1534) offers Bandolino, Van Eli, Stuart Weitzman, Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent and Anne Klein at 50 percent off.

Loehmann’s has a good selection of designer shoes-Liz Claiborne, Bandolino, BCBG-at big reductions. For example, a pair of Bandolino sandals that retails for $68 were marked $39.99; a spring 20-percent-off sale made the final cost $32.

Nine West Outlet locations cany some sale merchandise from Nine West retail stores, but most of the stock is manufactured specifically for the outlets. Styles range from sandals to boots to pumps. Prices are 30 percent to 50 percent off.



THAT’S ENTERTAINING Sam’s Club:

Face it. We were all caught up in the feeding frenzy when Sam’s Club opened 13 years ago. So thrilled were we at the prospect of 8-pound wheels of brie cheese for one-nth the price of most places that we tripped all over each other to pay the S25 annual membership (or cheated and used our mother’s boss’ wife’s cousin’s card) and then began making the weekly pilgrimage to the cavernous discount food emporium, filling our shopping carts with three-gallon cans of green beans and five-quart jars of picante sauce. Once home, of course, we didn’t know where to store the groceries or what to do with the leftovers. Today, there are six Sam’s Clubs in Dallas and three in Fort Worth–and we, happily, are a lot savvier about our friend Sam. Yes, you can still find gallon bottles of olive oil here, but we believe the best items are those meant for entertaining, Such as: smoked salmon, $9.99 a pound; shrimp cocktail platter for 24, S34.99; veggie platter for 20, $9.99; two dozen roses, $ 12.99; 10 tulips, $6.99; planted tulips, $4.98. Another entertaining idea: Bring in your own vase and Sam’s florist will arrange the flowers, for $7 per hour labor charge.



Books

Most Dallas bookstores have book clubs that offer discounts on every purchase and an additional discount, usually 20 percent to 30 percent, off the cover price of books on The New York Times best-seller list.

Borders Books & Music ( 10720 Preston Rd. in Preston Royal Shopping Center; 214-363-1977, and 5500 Greenville Ave.; 214-739-1166. and Piano, Lewisville and Fori Worth) doesn’t have a frequent-buyer club, but it does take 30 percent off the cover price of best-sellers and 10 percent off other hard-cover books. Borders also features tables of remaindered books (those overstocked or returned by booksellers to the publisher) on sale.

B. Dalton Bookseller (multiple locations) charges $10 for year-long membership in its club. Members get 20 percent off initial purchase; 10 percent off other purchases; 35 percent off best-sellers.

Bookstop (5550 W. Lovers Ln.; 214-357-2697. and 820 Preston Forest Shopping Center 214-363-5744. and multiple other locations) offers the best deal in Dallas for frequent book-buyers. With a Reader’s Choice card-S9 the first year. $7 for subsequent years-members save 20 percent on every purchase. 40 percent on New York Times best-sellers and 10 percent on magazines.

You won’t find many current bestsellers ai Half -Price Books (multiple locations)-most of their stock is used books at 50 percent off the cover price. But the stores also carry large, ever-changing stocks of remainders that are often as much as 90 percent off the cover price.

Used CDs are almost as good as new. And they can be had for $7 to $ 10, compared with new CD prices of S13 to S16. A good source: CD Warehouse (multiple locations). Used CDs and vinyl LPs-both good deals and hard-to-find vintage selections-can be found at Forever Young Records (908 W. Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington; 817-261-1393, and 370 Plymouth Park Shopping Center, Story Road south of S.H. 183. in Irving: 972-313-0522); a frequent-buyer curd that is good at either location entitles you to a free CD or LP after nine purchases. Deals on both new videos and CDs-often less than $10 each-can be had at Target, Best Buy (multiple locations) and Incredible Universe (12710 Executive Dr.: 214-342-5800. and 102 E. 1-20, Arlington; 817-784-5800).



Musical instruments:

Why buy a saxophone for your kid to practice on, when he might decide to take up the harp within six months? If you know where to look, you can get quality musical instruments that have been well-used or hardly used at all. Brook Mays Music (5756 LBJ Fwy. at Preston Road: 214-233-9633; multiple other locations) offers the best selection of previously rented school band and orchestra instruments. Also try Williamson Music (1551 Spring Valley Rd.. Richardson; 972-235-3316; also, Piano and Arlington), where a used saxophone runs $900 to $1,000-compared with a new instrument for $1,500 to $4,000. Charley’s Guitar Shop (2720 Royal Ln.; 214-243-4187) has a great selection of used and vintage acoustic and electric guitars. For sound equipment for your budding Stevie Ray Vaughan, try the sales warehouse and pro shop at Brook Mays Music (.652 Mockingbird Ln.; 214-631-0923)



COMPUTERS:

Computer City Outlet in Fort Worth’s Tandy Center (817-878-6900) sells refurbished computers, keyboards and printers thai were returned to its retail stores. Because returned equipment cannot be resold as new, all such merchandise goes to the outlet. For example: A computer is returned to a Computer City store, its service center runs a diagnostic test, finds a problem if there is one and restores the entire system to like-new condition. Equipment purchased at the outlet is carefully packaged–along with the original manuals, diskettes, cords and cables-in plain white boxes. Best bets: a Pentium 75 MHz (including the CPU and the keyboard) for $499. a Macintosh Performa 631 forS598,aHewleti Packard laser printer for $249 and a Pentium 100 MHz Toshiba laptop for $999.

TREAT YOURSELF

Salons tack on as much as 20 percent to the retail price of hair- and skin-care products, but you can get most of the well-known brands (Aveda. Paul Mitchell, Nexxus, Redken. Sebastian) for retail at Ulta 3 (2432 Preston Rd., Piano; 972-612-6031. and multiple other locations): Galleria Coiffures Beauty Salon & Supplies (276 Medallion Center; 214-363-7566), where you can get an extra 15 percent off the already low prices on the first Tuesday of the month; and Beauty Warehouse and Salon (5301 W. Lovers Ln.; 214-902-2290). where you can get an extra 20 percent off the last Thursday of the month.

A number of local beauty colleges offer discount salon services performed by students under the supervision of licensed instructors. Among them: Toni & Guy Academy (2810 East Trinity Mills Rd.; 972-416-83%), haircut, $12; manicure, $8; pedicure. S13. Aladdin Beauty College (3068 Forest Ln.; 972-484-6681), haircut, $4; manicure, $3.50; pedicure, $9, Ogle School of Hair Design (6333 E. Mockingbird Ln., Suite 201; 214-821-0819). haircut. $7.50: manicure, S6; deluxe pedicure, $15.

If shopping for great deals has worn you out. you may want to spend part of the afternoon under the hands of a masseuse (going rate, about SI per minute). You can get a one-hour Swedish massage for $20 at Sterling Health Center (15070 E. Beltwood Pkwy. in Addison; 972-991-9293) or for S25 at Wellness Skills Inc. (6102 E. Mockingbird Ln.: 214-828-4000) by a massage therapist-in-training. ED

Bargain Shopper’s Glossary

CLOSE-OUT: First-quality items sold in bulk by the manufacturer to an off-price retailer in an effort to reduce inventory. A manufacturer also might sell a discontinued pattern or style to an off-price retailer.

COMPARE AT: Words on a price tag that mean the item was manufactured specifically for the outlet “Compare at” prices are hypothetical and based on what a similar item should cost at retail price.

DAMAGED: Item has serious flaw; i.e., the china is chipped, the skirt is stained.

IRREGULAR: Item has slight flaw (also known as “second”); i.e., a seam on a dress is not straight, the glass vase has one too many air bubbles.

OFF-PRICE RETAILER: Refers to retail stores (Ross Dress For Less, T.J. Maxx, SYMS). that buy last season’s leftovers from department stores and sell them at greatly reduced prices. Merchandise is not usually irregular or damaged. Off-price retailers offer the best opportunity to get a designer label at the lowest price.

OUTLET: Store that sells merchandise from one retail company [J. Crew, The Gap, Brooks Brothers] or designer (Donna Kara?, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren}. Merchandise is usually a mix of items leftover from a previous season, items that are deemed irregular or second quality and excess items manufactured specifically for the outlet.

OVERRUN: Excess merchandise produced by a manufacturer and sold to off-price retailers or outlets.

REMAINDERS: Books that have been returned to the publisher by booksellers, or were overstocked in the warehouse and never distributed.

SAMPLE: Items that have been on display, used to pre-sell the product line or to test new colors and fabrics. Usually offered in limited sizes and cuts. -CD.

Tuesday Morning

The Dallas-grown store is a treasure chest of the best goods in the world.



Lloyd Ross was working for a Dallas manufacturer of fine gifts when he discovered a void in the market: No companies were interested in buying the surplus inventory of high-end manufacturers. So he launched his own-Tuesday Morning.

More than 20 years later, the company- with 293 stores across the country, 20 of them here-sells more crystal and Limoges china than any other retailer in the world.

Unlike other close-out retailers, Tuesday Morning is open only four times a year for “events”-sales that last six to eight weeks.

Merchandise is deeply discounted and high-end-not “seconds,” “irregulars” or “factory rejects.” However, Tuesday Morning Outlet (Inwood Trade Center; 214-637-4171], which is open year-round, carries damaged goods.

First, though, you must get on the mailing list of what will be offered at the next event.

Coming attractions: Luggage that retails for $99 to $280 will be $39.99; Ensolite pool floats that retail for S89.99 will be $39.99; a 42-by-6S-inch chenille throw that retails for $13$ will be $29.99; 5-by-8-foot hand-hooked 100-percent wool rugs from India and China that retail for $675 will be $199.99.

A Tuesday Morning event is currently in progress; it runs through June 29 (with a second shipment arriving May 14}. The others: Aug. 7-Seot. 21 and Oct. 2-Jan. 4. -CD.

Half-Price Ticketmaster Tickets

Starting at noon Tuesday through Saturday in the customer service area of Foley’s in Preston Center, you can stand in line to buy half-price tickets for that night’s performances. Numbers for places in line are handed out starting at 10 a.m. Tickets for Saturday matinees are only available 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day; tickets for Sunday matinees are available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Call 214-696-HALF for more information.

A PHONE CALL AWAY

If you know what you’re looking for, these designer outlets take phone orders:



Gianni Versace, 914-928-3774

Cole Haan. 914-928-9425

Waterford/Vvedgwood, 914-928-8111

Gucci, 914-928-8034

Giorgio Armani, 914-928-4547

Baccarat, 802-362-4132

Bally, 904-837-2284

Shopping the Outlets

Bargain-hunting that’s out of the way, but out of this world.

For the bargain-obsessed, outlets are more than out-of-the-way shopping destinations stocked with irregulars and leftovers. Much of the inventory is manufactured specifically for the outlet. These so-called “bridge lines” are made in the same factory as retail lines and have essentially the same look-for 30 percent to 50 percent less. This is how it works: A designer creates a sandal that sells for $00 at the retail store. In the same breath, that designer creates a second sandal-slightly different, not necessarily inferior-that sells for S45 at the outlet.

Other times, “outlets are used as test markets for new products and designs,” says Randy Marks, publisher of Outlet Bound ($11.95; 800-336-8853), a guide to outlet shopping across the country. His web site (http://www.outletbound.com) offers a cross reference of designer, city of origin and number of miles the bargain hunter is willing to travel.

Most outlets carry a combination of damaged merchandise, clearance merchandise from the previous season, and bridge-line pieces. To determine the origin of a particular item, ash the sales staff.

The big outlets are within an hour’s drive [or so) of Dallas along Interstate Highway 35. Northward: Denton Factory Stores, Exit 471; Gainesville Factory Shops, Exit 501. Southward: Hillsboro Outlet Center, Exit 368A; San Marcos Factory Shops, Exit 200. Fort Worth Outlet Square is in the downtown Tandy Center, Throckmorton and 1st streets. In Austin, check out Last Call From NM, 4115 S. Capital of Texas Hwy.

-C.D.

Flower Power

Lane Florist (6616 Snider Plaza; 214-363- 1637] has a daily Flower Happy Hour 4:30-6 p.m., when customers can buy cut flowers for half price.

THE LOW-DOWN ON TOYS WITH THE HIGHEST ’WANT FACTOR

For grandparents and favorite aunts who buy toys for the kids they love, bargain hunting is beside the point. But kids who save up their allowances are like heat-seeking missiles: They know exactly what they want. We’ve compared prices on these items at three toy stores.

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